Raven McAllan on all things Regency…

April 2016

Carina UK are taking a #StepBackInTime this weekend and talking all things Historical. We’re delighted that Raven McAllan is here to tell us about all things Regency…

So Raven, what first inspired to you go back in time and write Historical novels?

I’ve always loved history. Especially social history. Even though my degree is in International Studies, I made sure one of my options was social history from the Industrial Revolution to WW2. Couple that with my nosiness and passion for old houses and museums, and I guess it should have been a foregone conclusion. It wasn’t. No one was more surprised than me, when I announced I was going to write a Regency love story. I did and it was accepted.

What book are you currently writing at the moment?

I’ve just plotted, researched, and started a book set in the Trossachs in Scotland around 1818. (Think William Wallace and Rob Roy MacGregor. Plus, Sir Walter Scott wrote some of The Lady of the Lake there)

My hero and heroine have a past that is about to bite them…Just like the midges the area is infamous for. The working title is, Married—or not—To the Scottish Laird.

If you could invite anyone from the past to dinner, who would it be?

Golda Meir. What she achieved is amazing. From a peasant in Russia to leader of the Israeli people, with all the problems associated with setting up the state of Israel. Whatever your faith you have to admire her guts and single-minded determination. Or Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the Burmese opposition. I like strong feisty ladies, like my heroine’s I guess.

What would your go-to period drama be on television right now?

I seriously can’t answer this, as I haven’t watched any.  I’ve been told it should be Downton Abbey or Mr Selfridge. Yeah I’m a failure in this, I’m more of a factual programme watcher if I watch anything. Which could makes you wonder how I love and need to write Regency romance. It’s because I enjoy facts, I read up on them and put them into a story I want to read.

We know you love to travel, are you often inspired by the exotic locations you visit?

All the time. I also write contemporary stories and use places I know and love. It adds something for me, to use a place I’ve been to. At least I know then my geography is correct.

On my last visits to Barbados and Hong Kong respectively I got ideas for historical books set in those places. Barbados involves a lady pirate, and Hong Kong a lady of mysterious background. Watch this space as they say.

How do you chose your characters names?

That’s something I think very important, and I need their names before I start writing. One thing guaranteed to put me off a story is an inappropriate name. I check the lists of births and baptisms, and research names from certain areas. In my latest Regency romance for Carina Uk, The Duke’s Seduction of Lady M, a reader has won the chance to have a character named after her but generally, somehow I know what works for the character.

You write a lot of Regency stories. Are there any other eras you’d like to write about?

I’ve written a short story set in WW2 using tales my mum told me, and I have a rough plot of one for WW1. My Great Aunt lived in London during that war, and the stories she told me, about just what she got up to have to be told. It’s on my list for this year. I also envisage that some of my present characters could have children, and if in turn their stories were told they would be set later in the nineteenth century. Every so often I just have to write something contemporary, and at the moment, I have a story set in modern day Hong Kong that is screaming at me.

If you found yourself in Regency Times, what would you miss most?

Good chocolate and my laptop, no doubt about it!

Your heroines are always sassy. Do you think women like them existed in Regency times?

I know some did, but it wouldn’t have been easy. Like Mary Wollstonecraft for instance, or Sarah Guppy. But one of the best things about writing fiction is you can decide there were a lot more. Women who refused to be doormats and live in their husband’s shadow.

Your heroes always seem quite progressive for their time, while remaining true to themselves. How do you achieve this difficult balance?

It’s a fine line. I guess I think that they have something more in them than the norm and promote that facet of them. If they let me.

Have you ever worn stays, or a corset, and would you?

I have and damned uncomfortable they were. As a child of the bra burning sixties…say no more *wink*!

You can order The Duke’s Seduction of Lady M by Raven McAllan now!